ABSTRACT Changes in pupils’ views concerning natural phenomena, some of which are related to electricity, were investigated. Inclusion of phenomena not related to electricity was used, to find out to what extent pupils of elementary school attribute these phenomena to electricity. The participants were elementary school pupils coming from a traditional population of a village in the Galilee. The sample contained 60 pupils from the fourth grade (aged 9 - 10). The pupils were questioned before and after receiving instruction, and the same pupils were also questioned at the beginning and end of the sixth grade (aged 11 - 12), following a second period of instruction. Qualitative explanations of the pupils show changes during age. Results show development from mostly mechanical explanations at ages 9 - 10 to preference of electrical explanations and wide use of concepts related to electricity at age 11, such as current, electrical charges, or electrons. Previous research and the results of this paper lead to a suggestion of a new approach to electricity instruction in elementary schools.
Cite this paper
Azaiza, I. , Bar, V. , Awad, Y. & Khalil, M. (2012). Pupils’ Explanations of Natural Phenomena and Their Relationship to Electricity. Creative Education, 3, 1354-1365. doi: 10.4236/ce.2012.38198.
 Albert, E. (1978). Development of the concept of heat in children. Science Education, 62, 389-399. doi:10.1002/sce.3730620316
 Azaiza, I., Bar, V., & Galili, I. (2006). Learning about electricity in elementary school. International Journal of Science & Mathematics, 4, 45-71.
 Baker, D., & Taylor, P. C. S. (1995). The effect of culture on the learning of science in non-western cultures: The results of integrated research review. International Journal of Science Education, 17, 695- 704. doi:10.1080/0950069950170602
 Bar, V. (1989). Children’s ideas about the water cycle. Science Education, 73, 481-500. doi:10.1002/sce.3730730409
 Bar, V., & Galili, I. (1994) Stages of children’s views about evaporation. International Journal of Science Education, 16, 157-174.
 Bar, V., & Travis, S. A. (1991). Children’s views concerning phase changes. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 28, 363-382.
 Ba?er, M., & Geban, O. (2007). Effect of instruction based on concepttual change activities on students’ understanding of static electricity concepts. Research in Science & Technological Education, 25, 243 - 267. doi:10.1080/02635140701250857
 Bensegire, A., & Closset, J. L. (1996). The electrostatic electro kinetic transition: Instructionaland educational difficulties. International Journal of Science Education, 18, 179-191.
 Berland, L. K., & Reiser, B. J. (2009). Making sense of argumentation and explanation. Science Education, 93, 26-55.
 Borges, T. A., & Gilbert, J. K. (1999). Mental models of electricity. International Journal of Science Education, 21, 95-117.
 Caillot, M. (2002). Student relationship to knowledge and science. In Proceedings of the 2nd International Conference on Science Education (pp. 384-391). Nicosia: The Cyprus Pedagogical Institute.
 Chambers, K. S., & Andre, T. (1997). Gender, prior knowledge, interest, and experience in electricity and conceptual change text manipulations in learning about direct current. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 34, 107-123.
 Cohen, R., Eylon, B., & Ganiel, U. (1983). Potential difference and current in simple electric circuits: A study of students’ concepts. American Journal of Physics, 51, 407-412. doi:10.1119/1.13226
 Dresler, T., Razial, S., & Einav, R. (1991). Electric generator. Hebrew: Israel Ministry of Education.
 Driver, R., Guesne, E., & Tiberghien, A. (Eds.) (1985). Children’s ideas in science. Milton Keynes: Open University Press.
 Dupin, J. J., & Johsua, S. (1987). Conceptions of French pupils concerning electric circuits: Structure and evolution. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 24, 791-806. doi:10.1002/tea.3660240903
 Eylon, B. S., & Ganiel, U. (1990). Macro-micro relationships: The missing link between electrostatics and electrodynamics in students’ reasoning. International Journal of Science Education, 12, 79-94.
 Galili, I., & Bar, V. (2008). The neglected concept of insulator in teaching electricity in elementary school. Proceedings of the International Conference on Physics Education (GIREP): Physics Curriculum Design, Development and Validation, Nicosia: The University of Nicosia.
 Galili, I., & Hazan, A. (2000). Learner’s knowledge in optics: Interpretation structure and analysis. International Journal of Science Education, 22, 57-88. doi:10.1080/095006900290000
 Gauld, C.F. (1988). The cognitive context of pupils’ alternative frameworks. Internatioal Journal of Science Education, 10, 267 -274.
 Glasson, G. E., Frykholm, J. A., Mahango, N. A., & Phiri, D. A. (2006). Understanding the earth systems of Malawi: Ecological sustainability, culture, and place-based education. Science Education, 90, 660-680.
 Guisasola, J. (2008). Designing and evaluation a research-based teaching sequence for electrical capacitance. Proceedings of the International Conference on Physics Education (GIREP): Physics Curriculum Design, Development and Validation, Nicosia: The University of Nicosia.
 Heller, P., & Finley, F. (1992). Variable uses of alternative conceptions —A case study in current electricity. JRST, 29, 259-276.
 Hewitt, P. G. (2001). Conceptual physics: The high school physics program. Taipei: Commonwealth Publishing Co.
 K?rrqvist, C. (1985). Physics teachers’ perceptions of the difficulty of teaching electricity. Research in Science Education, 39, 515-538.
 Koren, P. (2006). The image of the scientist in students’ ideas. Ph.D. thesis, Hebrew: Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
 Kuhn, L. B., & Reiser, B. J. (2009). Making sense of argumentation and explanation. Science Education, 93, 26-55.
 Lee, K. W. L. (1999). Particulate representation of a chemical reaction mechanism. Research in Science Teaching, 29, 401-415.
 Lee, S. J. (2007). Exploring students’ understanding concerning batteries—Theories and practices. International Journal of Science Education, 29, 497-516. doi:10.1080/09500690601073350
 Lee, S. J., & Chang, L. Y. (2001). Primary school pupils’ alternative conceptions on battery theory and practice. Chinese Journal of Science Education, 9, 253-280.
 Levinger, M., & Dresler, T. (1993). With the current. Hebrew: Israel ministry of education.
 Niedderer, H., & Goldberg, F. (1987). Qualitative Interpretation of learning process in electric circuits. NARST Annual Meeting 1993, Atlanta, 11-15 April 1993.
 Novak, J. D., & Gowin, D. B. (1984). Learning how to learn. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.
 Novick, S., & Nusbaum, J. (1978). Junior high school pupils’ understanding of the particulate nature of matter—An interview study. Science Education, 62, 273-281. doi:10.1002/sce.3730620303
 Oh, P. S., & Oh, S. J. (2010). What teachers of science need to know about models: An overview. International Journal of Science Education, 32, 1-22.
 Osborne, R. J. (1981). Children’s ideas about electric current. New Zealand Science Teacher, 29, 12-19. doi:10.1080/0263514830010108
 Osborne, R. J. (1983). Towards modifying children’s ideas about electric current. Research in Science and Technological Education, 1, 73-82.
 Pardhan H., & Bano, Y. (2008). Pre-service and in-service physics teachers’ ideas about simple electric circuits. Eurasia Journal of Mathematics, Science & Technology Education, 4, 303-311.
 Park, J. (2001). Analysis of students’ processes of confirmation and falsification of their prior ideas about electrostatics. International Journal of Science Education, 23, 1219-1236.
 Piaget, J. (2008). The child’s conception of the world. Lanham: Roman & Littlefield publishers.
 Piaget, J. (1930). The child’s conception of physical causality. San Diego, CA: Harcourt Brace & company.
 Reif, F., & Larkin, J. H. (1992). Cognition in scientific and everyday domains: Comparison and learning implications. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 28, 733-760. doi:10.1002/tea.3660280904
 Sharma, A. (2008). Making electrical connections: Exploring student agency in a school in India. Science Education, 92, 297-319
 Shen, J., & Linn, M. (2010). A technology-enhanced unit of modeling static electricity: Integrating scientific explanations and everyday observations. International Journal of Science Education, 33, 1-27.
 Shepardson, D. P., & Moje, E. B. (1999). The role of anomalous data in restructuring fourth graders’ frameworks for understanding electric circuits. International Journal of science Education, 21, 77-94.
 Shipstone, D. M. (1984). A study of children understanding simple DC circuits. European Journal of Science Education, 6, 185-198.
 Shipstone, D. M. (1985). On childrens’ use of conceptual models in reasoning about current electricity. In R. Duit, W. Jung, C. von Rh?neck (Eds.), Aspect of Understanding Electricity (pp. 73-83). Keil: Schmidt & Klaunig.
 Smolkin, L. B., McTigue, E. M., Donovan, C. A., & Coleman, J. M. (2009). Explanation in science trade books recommended for use with elementary students. Science Education, 93, 587-610.
 Solomon, J., Black, P., Oldham, V., & Stuart, H. (1985). The pupils’ view of electricity. European Journal of Science Education, 7, 281- 294. doi:10.1080/0140528850070306
 Stocklmayer, S. M., & Treagust, D. F. (1996). Images of electricity, how do novice and experts model electric current. International Journal of Science Education, 18, 163-178.
 Tiberghien, A., & Delacote, G. (1976). Manipulation of the presentation of electric circuits among young children, aged 7-12 years. Revue Fran?oise de Pedagogy, 34, 32-44.
 Tobin, K. (1993). Constructivism: The practice of constructivism in science education. Washington: AAAS.
 Wolf, A. (1961). A history of science, technology and philosophy in the 18th century. New York: Harper.